Yesterday, I met a former student … and the memories came flooding back.
Three years ago, I was a student teacher on my final teaching placement. I was teaching a troubled, angry, and violent 8 year-old student … whom my cooperating teacher simply couldn’t stand.
“Roy” was (and remains) one of my most memorable “little characters’ … I’ve written about him before (September 2010). Back then, he was “liable to throw things at the teacher, run away from the class, and draw the teacher into power struggles”.
Yet, over those eight weeks, I forged a positive connection.
I made a difference … even if only for a short time.
“He made an effort to moderate his behaviour, and he never “exploded” into his aggressive chair-throwing & escape act while I was teaching him.
Working with him again last year, I believe I was one of very few, perhaps the only teacher Roy ever came to respect and trust.” (September 2010)
Anecdotally, I know that Roy returned to his old ways when I left his classroom. Sad, but not particularly surprising given his life and school experiences.
Roy was a life-changing experience
My experiences with Roy had a defining impact on my teaching and classroom management approach. He taught me so much … and I still carry “his lessons” with me today. In fact, there is “a little bit of Roy” in most of my blogged classroom management reflections, which continue to bring so many visitors to A Relief Teacher’s Journey.
Yet, when Roy moved schools, I feared we’d never meet again.
Today, I went for a walk down memory lane …
“While out on duty today, I was approached by a student, and to my amazement, Roy walked into my life again. We went for a walk together … I shook his hand, and thanked him.”
“I finally had the chance to tell him that I’d never forgotten him … the chance to tell him that he taught me so much about teaching and about life.”
I know, from my conversations with his classroom teacher that “Roy” hasn’t changed much over the years; and perhaps has become slightly worse.
Yet, years ago, I once told Roy that I believed in him. I felt, deep down, behind the facade, he was a ‘good kid’. Angry, yes. But not bad. I still do. I have hope. I care.
I still believe that my most memorable “little character” can make it. And one day, I hope he will read this and understand.